ALL THOSE PLASTIC BAGS: Blessing or Curse?

If you are like me, you like to save things “just in case” you might find a use for them sometime in the future.  Most teachers I know (myself included) are VERY good at “hoarding” things that might be useful for just about anything in the classroom:  a Science lesson (or ANY subject), learning centers, an art project, a craft idea for Mother’s Day gifts….I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea!  I hate to dispose of things that could be used in another way.  If I do happen to decide to throw something away, it isn’t but a few weeks before I’m wishing I hadn’t thrown it out because something has come up and I NEED the item I threw away.  Grrrrr!

Enter the dreaded PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS!  We all get them when we go shopping – grocery shopping, Wal-Mart shopping, Dollar Store shopping, department store shopping, etc.  You name it.  Chances are if you buy something ANYWHERE, you are taking it home in some kind of plastic bag!  Since they are plastic, I hate to throw them away for two reasons:  I might be able to use them for something sooner or later, and they are not bio-degradable, so I don’t want them in the local landfill.  I bet I had HUNDREDS of them before I took them back to the recycle box at the store a couple of weeks ago.

Recently I was browsing through Pinterest, and came across a really good idea, so I repinned it to my board titled Really Good Ideas. I know…I couldn’t resist.  Anyway, a friend had pinned this idea from Polka Dot Pineapple’s blog on how to store those plastic bags that are such a nuisance.  You won’t believe how incredibly simple this idea is (check out her blog:!  I thought it was such a good idea that I wanted to share it with you.  Soooo, the idea is hers, but the pictures are mine.

Remember when you were in Middle School (or Junior High as it was called in my day), and you had something to share with a friend and it JUST couldn’t wait until the class was over?  How did we solve that problem?  We wrote NOTES, of course, and passed them in class!  BTW….Middle Schoolers still do that, and they think we teachers don’t have a clue about it!  Haha!  We invented the passing of notes in class!  Anyway, do you remember the cute little triangle shape we would fold that note into before passing it?  Well, that is what we are going to do to our plastic sacks.  We are going to fold it into a triangle and tuck in the handles.  Here we go:

Here is the mess of plastic bags I got today when I went to pick up a few groceries (8 total).

Here are the bags after I tried to “wad” them up…like I used to do before stuffing them into a paper grocery bag (YES! I had a few of the original PAPER grocery bags!)

They aren’t much smaller, are they?

First thing we are going to do is flatten and smooth out our bag.  You will need to pull on one of the handles while holding on to the bottom of the sack to tuck the side “pleat” back into the bag.  Do both sides.

Now the bag is flat and all the air has been pushed out as you have smoothed out the wrinkles.  Next you will fold the bag in half (handle to handle), and then you will fold it in half again.

Next you will start at the bottom of the bag and fold one corner up and across making a small triangle.  It doesn’t matter if you start on the left or the right side.

Now you will fold that triangle straight up.

While you’re folding, press and smoothe to keep air out of the bag.  Next fold the corner on the same side as the triangle up and across to form another triangle. On mine I would fold the left bottom corner up and across.

Now fold it straight up again.

Keep on folding triangles and then straight up until you get close to the top.  Just the handles will be left.

Now you are going to tuck the handles into the last triangle.  You should be able to find two layers of plastic to tuck in the handles (Can you see the two layers in the above picture with my hand?).  Just keep pushing the handles in (they don’t have to be neat) until they “disappear.”

That was easy, wasn’t it?  Did it bring back memories from Junior High?  Now your plastic bag is very small.  It won’t take up much space and won’t become a big mess as it “un-wads” after you have wadded it up.

Look at how little space those 8 bags take up now:

I know you must be thinking, “That takes too much time!”  After you do several, you will get much faster at folding them.  I folded all 8 bags in less than 5 minutes.  I bet you could store more than 100 plastic bags in a small Bath and Body Works handle bag because they take up so little space folded this way.  In they go:

I hope you will benefit from this technique of folding and storing all those pesky, plastic grocery bags!  At least until you take them to the recycle box.    🙂

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thymelesssageandrandonrants
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 03:49:11

    Impressive tutorial, Betty. I’ve streamlined stuffing them into a garbage bag in the garage until it gets full and then I take the bag to WalMart for recycling. Our plastics recycling center here will not take plastic bags.


  2. thymelesssageandrandonrants
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 03:52:54

    Now if you try to teach us how to fold fitted sheets or iron tea towels, I will have to speak to your boss about upping your hours since you obviously have too much time on hand.


  3. bhuffman1953
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 04:03:02

    LOL! Actually I DO have a way I fold fitted sheets, but it isn’t as interesting as folding plastic bags.


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